The After-Publication Roller Coaster: Laura Lam

This is a nice post on the post-publication roller coaster. I don’t think I roller-coast as much as some authors, but I still like this post.

“You sneak into a bookstore and just stare at the book on the shelf, trying not to cry. You see your Amazon rankings shoot up the lists the first couple of days. And even though you know — you know — not to get your hopes up too much, you do anyway. You get fan mail. You’re on top of the world.

And then, the buzz dies down. The rankings slip. Fewer reviews trickle in. The world has gone on to other new and shiny books. People are still reading you—but most are not reviewers. They’re not as likely to tweet to you that they enjoyed your book or post a review. They read it. They liked it. Or they didn’t. They go on to another book and you’ll never know.”

I never have an impulse to cry in bookstores. But I agree with this, basically. I do know not to hope for too much — but I hope for it anyway. I know buzz will die down, but I’m disappointed by that anyway. I expect every single author rides this particular roller coaster to some extent. I think it’s important not to take it too seriously when you find yourself on the downhill side, too.

Unlike Laura, let me add, I never worried that it might be rude to ask my publishers for sales numbers, but on the other hand, I never ask. I don’t really want to know. Eventually you find out, I don’t mean you can live permanently in that bubble. I know that THE FLOATING ISLANDS has earned out and that HOUSE OF SHADOWS hasn’t. But basically you do what you can to promote your books, and you trust that your publishers are at least making a reasonable gesture in that direction, and then the numbers are what they are, you know? You can’t do much about that. It’s better to just forget about it and write a new book. Which is Laura Lam’s conclusion, too, by the way.

Laura has a recent guest post that follows up this first roller-coaster post here. I see her PANTOMIME has been shortlisted for five awards, so that’s great for her. Hopefully that will do something to offset the falloff that plagues series. I do think the worry that PANTOMIME might draw significant anti-gay reaction was perhaps unnecessary. Surely readers can be expected to notice that Micah is not actually gay so much as unique.

Anyway, PANTOMIME ends on rather a cliffhanger, so I will be interested in how that works out in the second book, SHADOWPLAY, which is either just out now or else coming out any day. The Goodreads reviews look very strong so far. And the cover is fantastic imho — PANTOMIME had one of my favorite covers last year, and this one is also excellent. Here it is:


Do you love that? I really do. I think it is intriguing, beautiful, different and perfect for the story.

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